There's a lot of people right now focused on the question facing the real estate industry: How is digital disruption going to change the vendor or buyer relationship? The rise of these kind of the Uber-ization of the real estate industry through P2P sales that gives you a level of transparency about the service of real estate agents and crowdsourced mortgages and sales as a whole.
Is that really the biggest question that the industry is facing right now? If you zoom out a little bit, the industry is at the pointy end of a conversation that's happening in every market: trust. It's a question of whether or not organizations have earned and maintained the trust of the market. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, Trust has fallen across every measure dimension across every industry, everywhere in the world in the last 24 months.
Real estate has been an industry with a pretty significant image problem for quite a long time, particularly around the relationship between agents and the people buying properties.
Do you know how much your customers trust you? You might be doing the hard work to develop analytics and metrics to get an understanding of whether you're perceived as a trustworthy source of business and information. Based on those results, do you have a clear sense of the behaviours that you are and are not engaging in?
Are we willing to make the hard decisions, particularly when they might have economic implications on the business, to start peeling back the behaviours that may have been profitable in the past but are now potentially problematic?
I would say trust is at the core of the conversations needing to be had when discussing the real future of competitive advantage in real estate.